California NanoSystems Institute
Text Size: A A A A

James Gimzewski, Ph.D., D.Sc., Ph.D.

Director, Nano and Pico Characterization Lab
Scientific Director, Art|Sci Center
Lab Director, Gimzewski Lab
Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Physical Chemistry
Member, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, California NanoSystems Institute
Researcher, Biophysics and Structural Biology

Ph.D., University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, 1977
B.S., University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, Honorary Degrees, 1974
D.Sc., (hc) University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, 2010
Ph.D., (hc) University of the Mediterranean, Aix-Marseille II, France, 2008

Professional Societies:
2009 Royal Society, Elected Fellow
2007 National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan, PI and Satellite Director of MANA
2004 Int'l Society for Nanoscale Science, Computation and Engineering, Elected Member
2002 World Innovation Foundation, Elected Fellow
2001 Royal Academy of Engineering, London, United Kingdom (FREng), Elected Fellow
1995 Institute of Physics (FinstP), London, UK, Elected Fellow

Contact Information:
Work Email Address:
Work Email Address:
Work Email Address:
Laboratory Address: Young Hall B064, B112
Work Address: Young Hall 3042A
Home Page:
Fax Number: (310) 206-4038 Fax
Work Phone Number: (310) 206-7658 Assistant's phone number
1 (310) 794-7514 Office
Lab Number: 1 (310) 206-8259 Lab
Research Interests:

My interests are in the area of science and technology at the ultimate limits of fabrication, measurement and function. This fascination started when I joined IBM in 1983 when I was fortunate enough to learn a new way to see atoms and molecules. This ability to see or touch atoms and molecules is one of the inspirational forces behind potentially revolutionary technologies we will see in our lifetimes and we are just starting to make what were dreams realities of the future. This will require a whole new generation of scientists and engineers and that is why I am pleased to be at UCLA.

My current interests fall into three areas of research:
    • Nanoarchitectonics of three dimensional nanostrutures and nanosystems. Self-organization and Emergence of Dynamical Structures in Atomic Switch Networks: Neuromorphic Nanoarchitectonics Using a two-step fabrication procedure combining topdown and bottom-up fabrication techniques, we have created functional neuromorphic devices based on a self-assembled, complex network architecture. We describe these atomic switch networks as neuromorphic not only in that the massively interconnected, dendritic features inspired by those observed in biological neural networks. the underlying device architecture has also similarities in function. The devices demonstrate weak and strong memristive behaviors, as well as higher harmonic generation, and show emergent properties and criticality similar to the human brain.

    • Biomolecular nanomechanical systems. The electronics industry has invested vast sums of money into research in the area of silicon, microfabrication, and micromachining. However, only a small percentage of this research work and fabrication methodology finds itself into microelectronic products such as integrated circuits. On the other hand, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, while very advanced on the chemical side, is only beginning to realize possibilities of miniaturization of sensing arrays, diagnostic methods, and even more futuristically, smart drug delivery systems. My research is aimed at using much of the untapped silicon micromachining and fabrication technologies for bio-sensing and actuation applications using nanomechanics.

    • Chemistry, physics, and mechanics of single molecules. This research is aimed at exploring the inter-relationship of quantum mechanics, chemical design and synthesis, and molecular mechanics at the level of individual molecules. Research is highly interdisciplinary, combining the skills of synthetic chemists, theorists, and nanoscale scientists, particularly in the area of imaging and spectroscopy. The research is quite fundamental and has a clear long-range goal: programmed functionality of a single molecule. Possible areas of future application include quantum computing, molecular machines, and high-density peta-bit memories. A theoretical goal also includes the operation of a machine that would approach an energy-efficiency close to the limit set by the second law of thermodynamics.

Technical Research Interest:

Professor Gimzewski's Pico Lab at UCLA is concerned with developing a nanosystems approach to interesting areas of research connected to radical shifts in technology. The projects themselves stem form the ability to image and manipulate matter all the way up from the atomic scale. Pico Lab is equipped with state of the art techniques that enable atoms and molecules to be studies and manipulated in environments that vary for extreme vacuum at cryogenic temperatures. Nanomechanics is a new area of science that has evolved in the last ten years or so. It is concerned with the mechanics of systems with components or motions on the scale of the nanometer. It turns out that mechanical processes appear in most living systems and much of the research work has expended from molecular systems to cell based or whole animal investigations. These latest studies are specifically aimed at medical diagnostics, stem cell research and biosensor related applications. Biological systems also form the focus of bio-inspired materials and devices in which cellular systems are being used as models for the design of new paradigms in engineering.

Gimzewski embraces the convergence of all disciplines to develop a new form of thinking necessary for Nanotechnology to have a global societal and economic benefit within the next 10 years. This convergence goes beyond Science, Medicine and Engineering, and embraces the Arts as an essential part of the process.

Additional Information:

Dr. Gimzewski is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles and Director of the Nano & Pico Characterization Core Facility of the California NanoSystems Institute. He is scientific director of the Art|Sci Center at CNSI and the Broad Art Center and a member of the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center. He is also Principal Investigator and Satellites Co-Director of the WPI Center for Materials NanoArchitectonics (MANA) in Tsukuba Japan. Dr. Gimzewski is an associate of the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics.

Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, he was a group leader at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, where he research in nanoscale science and technology for more than 18 years. Dr. Gimzewski pioneered research on mechanical and electrical contacts with single atoms and molecules using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and was one of the first persons to image molecules with STM. His accomplishments include the first STM-based fabrication of molecular suprastructures at room temperature using mechanical forces to push molecules across surfaces, the discovery of single molecule rotors and the development of new micromechanical sensors based on nanotechnology, which explore ultimate limits of sensitivity and measurement. This approach was recently used to convert biochemical recognition into Nanomechanics.

His current interests are in the nanomechanics of cells, bacteria, exosmes and actin binding and RNA profiling where he collaborates with the UCLA MBI, Medical and Dental Schools.

Dr. Gimzewski is also involved in numerous art-science collaborative projects that have been exhibited in museums throughout the world and has appeared on many TV and Radio shows on BBC, NHK, CBC and Arte and NPR.

Selected Publications:

H.O. Sillin, H-. H. Hsieh, R. Aguilera, A.V. Avizienis, M. Aono, A.Z. Stieg, and J.K. Gimzewski , Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Atomic Switch Networks for Reservoir Computing, Nanotechnology, 2013, In Press.
R. Tanoue, R. Higuchi, K. Ikebe, S. Uemura, N. Kimizuka, A.Z. Stieg, J.K. Gimzewski and M. Kunitake, Thermodynamic Self-Assembly of Two-Dimensional pi-Conjugated Metal–Porphyrin Covalent Organic Frameworks by “On-Site” Equilibrium Polymerization, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 2013, In Press.
A. Arshi, S. Eaimkhong, Y. Nakashima, H. Nakano, J. Reed, A.Z. Stieg, J.K. Gimzewski and A. Nakano, Rigid Two-Dimensional Microenvironments Promote Cardiac Differentiation of Mouse and Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, 2013, 2 (April).
Pawin Greg, Stieg Adam Z, Skibo Catherine, Grisolia Maricarmen, Schlittler Reto, Langlais Veronique, Tateyama Yoshitaka, Joachim Christian, Gimzewski James K, Amplification of Conformational Effects via Tert-butyl Groups: Hexa-tert-butyl decacyclene on Cu(100) at Room Temperature, Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids, 2013, 28 (24), 7309-17.
A.V. Avizienis, H.O. Sillin, C. Martin-Olmos, M. Aono, J.K Gimzewski and A.Z. Stieg , Morphological Transitions in the Electroless Deposition of Copper, Crystal Growth and Design, 2013, 13 (2), 465-469.
Sharma S, Santiskulvong C, Bentolila LA, Rao J, Dorigo O, Gimzewski JK, Correlative nanomechanical profiling with super-resolution F-actin imaging reveals novel insights into mechanisms of cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer cells, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 2012, 8 (5), 757-766.
Sharma S, Santiskulvong C, Bentolila LA, Rao J, Dorigo O, Gimzewski JK., Correlative nanomechanical profiling with super-resolution F-actin imaging reveals novel insights into mechanisms of cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer cells. , Nanomedicine, 2012, 8 (5), 757-766.
Cristina Martin-Olmos, Adam Z Stieg, and James K Gimzewski, Electrostatic force microscopy as a broadly applicable method for characterizing pyroelectric materials, Nanotechnology, 2012, 23, 1-6.
Jason Reed, Carlin Hsueh, Miu-Ling Lam, Rachel Kjolby, Andrew Sundstrom, Bud Mishra and J. K. Gimzewski, Identifying individual DNA species in a complex mixture by precisely measuring the spacing between nicking restriction enzymes with atomic force microscope, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2012, doi: 10.1098/rsif.2012.0024.
Jason Reed, Carlin Hsueh, Miu-Ling Lam, Rachel Kjolby, Andrew Sundstrom, Bud Mishra and J. K. Gimzewski, Identifying individual DNA species in a complex mixture by precisely measuring the spacing between nicking restriction enzymes with atomic force microscope, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2012, doi: 10.1098/​rsif.2012.0024 , Published Online.
Rasool HI, Song EB, Allen MJ, Wassei JK, Kaner RB, Wang KL, Weiller BH, Gimzewski JK, Continuity of graphene on polycrystalline copper, Nano Lett, 2011, 11 (1 ), 251-6.
Sarah E Cross, Yu-Sheng Jin, Qing-Yi Lu, JianYu Rao and James K Gimzewski, Green tea extract selectively targets nanomechanics of live metastatic cancer cells, Nanotechnology, 2011, 22 (21).
Rasool HI, Wilkinson PR, Stieg AZ, Gimzewski JK., A low noise all-fiber interferometer for high resolution frequency modulated atomic force microscopy imaging in liquids, Rev Sci Instrum, 2010, 81 (2), 023703.
Yokoi N, Inaba H, Terauchi M, Stieg AZ, Sanghamitra NJ, Koshiyama T, Yutani K, Kanamaru S, Arisaka F, Hikage T, Suzuki A, Yamane T, Gimzewski JK, Watanabe Y, Kitagawa S, Ueno T, Construction of robust bio-nanotubes using the controlled self-assembly of component proteins of bacteriophage T4, Small, 2010, 6 (17), 1873-9.
Hasegawa T, Ohno T, Terabe K, Tsuruoka T, Nakayama T, Gimzewski JK, Aono M, Learning abilities achieved by a single solid-state atomic switch, Adv Mater, 2010, 22 (16), 1831-4.
Sharma S, Cross SE, Hsueh C, Wali RP, Stieg AZ, Gimzewski JK, Nanocharacterization in dentistry, Int J Mol Sci, 2010, 11 (6), 2523-45.
Wilson L, Cross S, Gimzewski J, Rao J, Nanocytology: a novel class of biomarkers for cancer management, IDrugs, 2010, 13 (12), 847-51.
Sharma S, Rasool HI, Palanisamy V, Mathisen C, Schmidt M, Wong DT, Gimzewski JK., Structural-Mechanical Characterization of Nanoparticle Exosomes in Human Saliva, Using Correlative AFM, FESEM, and Force Spectroscopy, ACS Nano, 2010, 4 (4), 1921-6.
Petrou I, Heu R, Stranick M, Lavender S, Zaidel L, Cummins D, Sullivan RJ, Hsueh C, Gimzewski JK, A breakthrough therapy for dentin hypersensitivity: how dental products containing 8% arginine and calcium carbonate work to deliver effective relief of sensitive teeth, J. Clin. Dent, 2009, 20 (1), 23-31.
Cross SE, Jin Y-S, Rao J, Gimzewski JK, Applicability of AFM in cancer detection, Nat. Nanotech, 2009, 4, 72-73.
Pelling AE, Wilkinson PR, Stringer R, Gimzewski JK., Dynamic mechanical oscillations during metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly, J R Soc Interface. , 2009, 6 (30), 29-37.
Cross SE, Kreth J, Wali RP, Sullivan R, Shi W, Gimzewski JK, Evaluation of bacteria-induced enamel demineralization using optical profilometry, Dent Mater, 2009, 25 (12), 1517-26.
Reed J, Schmit J, Han S, Wilkinson P, Gimzewski JK, Interferometric profiling of microcantilevers in liquid, Optics and Lasers in Eng, 2009, 47, 217-222.
Reed J, Ramakrishnan S, Schmit J, Gimzewski JK, Mechanical Interferometry of Nanoscale Motion and Local Mechanical Properties of Living Zebrafish Embryos, ACS Nano , 2009, 3 (8), 2090–2094.
Jason Reed, Carlin Hsueh, Bud Mishra and James K Gimzewski, Atomic force microscope observation of branching in single transcript molecules derived from human cardiac muscle, Nanotechnology, 2008, 19.
Jason Reed, Matthew Frank, Joshua J Troke, Joanna Schmit, Sen Han, Michael A Teitell and James K Gimzewski , High throughput cell nanomechanics with mechanical imaging interferometry, Nanotechnology, 2008, 19.
J Schmit, J Reed, E Novak and J K Gimzewski , Performance advances in interferometric optical profilers for imaging and testing, J. Opt. A: Pure Appl. Opt, 2008, 10.
Stieg AZ, Rasool HI, Gimzewski JK, A flexible, highly stable electrochemical scanning probe microscope for nanoscale studies at the solid-liquid interface, Rev. Scientific Inst, 2008, 79, 103701.
Cross SE, Jin Y-S, Tondre J, Wong R, Rao J, Gimzewski JK, AFM-based analysis of human metastatic cancer cells, Nanotech, 2008, 19 (38).
Wenyu Zhang, William R. Dichtel, Adam Z. Stieg, Diego Benítez, James K. Gimzewski, James R. Heath, and J. Fraser Stoddart , Folding of a donor–acceptor polyrotaxane by using noncovalent bonding interactions, Proceed. of the Nat. Acad. of Sci. , 2008, 105 (18), 6514-6519 .
Reed J, Walczak W, Petzold O, Gimzewski JK, In Situ Mechanical Interferometry of Matrigel Films, Langmuir, 2008, 25 (1), 36-39.
Reed J, Troke J, Schmit J, Han S, Teitell M, Gimzewski JK, Live Cell Interferometry Reveals Cellular Dynamism During Force Propagation, ACS Nano, 2008, 2 (5), 841-846.
Wilkinson PR, Klug WS, Van Leer B, Gimzewski JK, Nanomechanical properties of piezoresistive cantilevers: theory and experiment, J. Appl. Phys, 2008, 104 (10).
James K. Gimzewski, Nantotechnology: the end game of materialism , Leonardo, 2008, 41 (3), 259-264.
K. K. Park, H. J. Lee, G. G. Yaralioglu, A. S. Ergun, Ö. Oralkan, M. Kupnik, C. F. Quate, B. T. Khuri-Yakub, T. Braun, J.-P. Ramseyer, H. P. Lang, M. Hegner, and Ch. Gerber and J.K. Gimzewski, Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers for chemical detection in nitrogen, Appl. Phys. Lett, 2007, 91 (9), 094102.
Pelling AE, Dawson DW, Carreon DM, Christiansen JJ, Shen RR, Teitell MA, Gimzewski JK., Distinct contributions of microtubule subtypes to cell membrane shape and stability, Nanomedicine, 2007, 3 (1), 43-52.
Sarah E. Cross, Yu-Sheng Jin, Jianyu Rao and James K. Gimzewski, Nanomechanical analysis of cells from cancer patients, Nature Nanotechnology, 2007, 2, 780-783.
Cross, S.E., Kreth, J., Zhu, L., Sullivan, R., Shi, W., Qi, F. and Gimzewski, J.K., Nanomechanical properties of Glucans and associated cell-surface adhesion of Streptococcus mutans probed by atomic force microscopy under in vivo conditions, Microbiology, 2007, 153, 3124-3132.
Lisa Wesoloski, Adam Stieg, Masashi Kunitake, Shane Dultz and James Gimzewski, Observation of image contrast and dimerization of decacyclene by low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy, Journal of Chemical Physics, 2007, 127 (17), 174703.
Jason Reed, Bub Mishra, Bede Pittenger, Sergei Maganov, Joshua Troke, Michael A. Teitell and James K. Gimzewski, Single molecule transcription profiling with AFM, Nanotechnology, 2007, 18 (4), 044032.
Stieg, A. Z.; Wilkinson, P.; Gimzewski, J. K., Vertical inertial sliding drive for coarse and fine approaches in scanning probe microscopy, Review of Scientific Instruments, 2007, 78, 036110 .
Reed, J.; Wilkinson, P.; O Doherty, K.; Schmit, J.; Han, S.; Troke, J.; Teitell, M.; Klug, W.; Gimzewski, J., Applications of Imaging Interferometry, Proceedings - SPIE The International Society For Optical Engineering, 2006, 6293, 629301.
Sarah E Cross, JensKreth, Lin Zhu, Fengxia Qi, Andrew E Pelling, Wenyuan Shi and James K Gimzewski, Atomic force microscopy study of the structure–function relationships of the biofilm-forming bacterium Streptococcus mutans, Nanotechnology, 2006, 17, S1-S7.
L. Zhu, J. Kreth, S. E. Cross, J. K. Gimzewski, W. Shi and F. Qi, Functional Characterization of Cell Wall-Associated Protein WapA in Streptococcus mutans, Microbiology, 2006, 152, 2395-2404.
J. K. Gimzewski, Nanotecnologia. L’último carta del materialisme: la metamorfosi de l’atomisme i la revolució de la creativitat" in Física de l’estètica: Noves fronteres de la ciència, l’art i el pensament, KRTU, 2006.
Jason Reed, Paul Wilkinson, Joanna Schmit, William Klug and J. K. Gimzewski, Observation of Nanoscale Dynamics in Cantilever Sensor Arrays, Nanotechnology, 2006, 17, 3873-3879.
Vladimir A. Azov, Andrew Beeby, Martina Cacciarini, Andrew G. Cheetham, François Diederich, Markus Frei, James K. Gimzewski, Volker Gramlich, Bert Hecht, Bernhard Jaun, Tatiana Latychevskaia, Andreas Lieb, Yoriko Lill, Federica Marotti, Anna Schlegal, Reto R, Schlittler, Philip J. Skinner, Paul Seiler, and Yoko Yamakoshi, Resorcin[4]arene Cavitand-Based Molecular Switches, Advanced Functional Materials, 2006, 16 (2), 147-156.
Katsumi Nagaoka, Lisa M. Wesoloski, James K. Gimzewski, Masakazu Aono and Tomonobu Nakayama, Scanning Tunneling Microscope Study of a Local Electronic State Surrounding Mn Nanoclusters on Graphite, Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 2006, 45 (17), L469-L471.
Pelling AE, Li Y, Cross SE, Castaneda S, Shi W, Gimzewski JK., Self-Organized and Highly Ordered Domain Structures within Swarms of Myxococcus xanthus, Cell Motil Cytoskeleton, 2006, 63 (3), 141-8.
J. K. Gimzewski and V. Vesna, The Future, Engineering Nature: Art and Consciousness in the Post-Biological Era , 2006.
Paul R. Wilkinson and J.K. Gimzewski, Thin film interference in the optomechanical response of micromechanical silicon cantilevers, Applied Physics Letters, 2006, 89, 241916 .
Li Y, Lux R, Pelling AE, Gimzewski JK, Shi W, Analysis of type IV pilus and its associated motility in Myxococcus xanthus using an antibody reactive with native pilin and pili, Microbiology, 2005, 151 (2), 353-60.
Han TH, Pelling A, Jeon TJ, Gimzewski JK, Liao JC., Erythrocyte nitric oxide transport reduced by a submembrane cytoskeletal barrier, Biochim Biophys Acta. , 2005, 1723 (1-3), 135-42.
Pelling AE, Li Y, Shi W, Gimzewski JK., Nanoscale visualization and characterization of Myxococcus xanthus cells with atomic force microscopy, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2005, 102 (18), 6484-9.
Naranjo B, Gimzewski JK, Putterman S., Observation of nuclear fusion driven by a pyroelectric crystal, Nature, 2005, 434 (7037), 1115-7.
Pelling AE, Sehati S, Gralla EB, Valentine JS, Gimzewski JK., Local nanomechanical motion of the cell wall of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Science, 2004, 305 (5687), 1147-50.
Loppacher Ch, Guggisberg M, Pfeiffer O, Meyer E, Bammerlin M, Lüthi R, Schlittler R, Gimzewski JK, Tang H, Joachim C, Direct determination of the energy required to operate a single molecule switch, Phys Rev Lett, 2003, 90 (6), 066107.